New State Law about Substance Abuse Now in Effect
The West Virginia’s multi-faceted substance abuse law is now in effect but it will be several months before each part of it is up and running.
State lawmakers passed the bill earlier this year and it was signed into law by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin.
It went into effect last Friday.
West Virginia Board of Pharmacy Executive Director and General Counsel David Potters says some parts of the law won’t be ready until July 01, 2012, other provisions September 01, 2012 and even later.
Potters says the law is comprehensive and there is lot to do.
One of the most talked about provisions is updating how the purchase of prescription drugs is monitored.
The turnaround will go from several days to 24-hours.
Potters says the state Office of Technology recently approved software changes to the current monitoring system.
There will also be changes at the individual pharmacies.
“We’re not going to be heavy-handed from the Board of Pharmacy office. We understand it’s going to take a little time for folks to get on board and get used to the new requirements and to get the program changes done on their end as well,“ Potters said.
It is believed 24-hour monitoring will allow pharmacists and law enforcement to determine if those trying to get the drugs really need them or are doctor shopping.
The law also sets new limits for the purchase of products containing pseudoephedrine, one of the main ingredients in making meth.
“It’s kept behind the counter and they have to sign for it,“ Potters said. “They can get up to 3-point-6 grams per day, no more than 7-point-2 grams a month and no more than 48 grams a year.
Those purchases will also be monitored in hopes of cutting down on the practice of smurfing where people go around from pharmacy to pharmacy to purchase pseudoephedrine to make meth.
The new law also has new regulations for pain clinics and methadone clinics along with setting up two new committees by the Board of Pharmacy that will advise and review in connection with the new law’s provisions.
Potters says the law will have its greatest impact if all interested parties are working together.
“We want to make this a partnership. It’s a government and private partnership to work on this substance abuse issue,“ he said.